BUSINESS women in Stockbridge hope they can bring a little touch of the Med to Hampshire by opening a new Italian-inspired store.

Sophie Walters and Jane Young have opened La Bella Donna selling top-end handmade Italian goods including shoes, handbags, shawls and scarves and jewellery.

The shop is open six days a week, from 10am until 5pm, as well as the occasional Sunday.

Ms Walters said: “Jane and I have worked together in Italy for eight years now, developing houses for the rental market, and in our travels around the beautiful country we have come across so many wonderful things, so we decided to set up a shop selling exclusively Italian products.

“All of our manufacturers are family run businesses passed down through the generations. The work force is predominately family; grandparents, uncles, aunts and siblings. The common theme when chatting with them is their enormous pride in their product and the heritage of generations of master craftsmen.

“What is different about our shop is that, because we go to the factories we actually choose the leather, the heels; the little touches that make them unique. So there are only a few pairs of every type so you know you are buying something original and fairly exclusive to you.”

The shop tried to emanate everything associated with Italy and has music playing in the background while serving prosecco and espresso on Saturday afternoons.

“There is something magic about Italy and the Italians, you only have to mention Italy to people and everyone smiles,” Sophie added. “The feel good factor for the chic fashion, warm sun, good food, great wine and beautiful scenery just engenders thoughts of a wonderful life style that people want to be part of.”